The colonization of afro-tropical wildlife with Staphylococcus aureus and the derived clade Staphylococcus schweitzeri remains largely unknown. A reservoir in bats could be of importance since bats and humans share overlapping habitats. In addition, bats are food sources in some African regions and can be the cause of zoonotic diseases. Here, we present a cross-sectional survey employing pharyngeal swabs of captured and released bats (n = 133) in a forest area of Gabon. We detected low colonization rates of S. aureus (4–6%) and S. schweitzeri (4%) in two out of four species of fruit bats, namely Rousettus aegyptiacus and Micropteropus pusillus, but not in insectivorous bats. Multilocus sequence typing showed that S. aureus from Gabonese bats (ST2984, ST3259, ST3301, ST3302) were distinct from major African human associated clones (ST15, ST121, ST152). S. schweitzeri from bats (ST1697, ST1700) clustered with S. schweitzeri from other species (bats, monkeys) from Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire. In conclusion, colonization rates of bats with S. aureus and S. schweitzeri were low in our study. Phylogenetic analysis supports an intense geographical dispersal of S. schweitzeri among different mammalian wildlife hosts.
- Staphylococcus schweitzeri